Ten Questions. Ten Sports. One Year.
How well do you remember these significant sporting events of 2014?Embed from Getty Images
Question 1 (Football):
2000 European Championships were held in both The Netherlands and Belgium. Due to the high-scoring games and overall quality that was on display, many respected writers believe that this tournament is one of the greatest in international football history. The historic event took place from 10th June to 2nd July across eight cities, four in each country, with the final taking place at De Kuip, Rotterdam. The two teams that made the final were France, two years after winning the World Cup in their own country, and Italy, who’s only Euro’s win came in 1968. The Azzurri, in typical Italian style, reached the biggest game in European international football with a team-based around a solid defence, only conceding two goals through the competition and three of their defenders, Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro Nesta and Paulo Maldini, were selected in the Team of the Tournament. They topped Group B by winning all three games before defeating Romania in the quarter-finals 2-0 and a strong Netherlands teams on penalties in the semi-finals after a 0-0 result. The reigning World Cup winners came second in their group behind the Netherlands, losing to the host nation in a fantastic 3-2 game. They defeated both Spain in the quarter-finals and Portugal in the semi-finals 2-1, the latter result needing a golden goal during extra time to secure their place in Rotterdam.
The final itself is perhaps best remembered for being the second European Championship decided by a golden goal. The previous came in the preceding edition, with Oliver Bierhoff’s extra-time strike handing Germany the trophy in 1996. This time it was substitute David Trezeguet who would seal the tournament for his team and become a hero in his country. Fellow substitute Robert Pires assisted the goal by cutting the ball back from the left. This allowed Trezeguet to fire the ball into the roof of the net for the 2-1 victory. France never led during the final. Italy scored the game’s opening goal in the 55th minute after Marco Delvecchio turned in a Gianluca Pessotto cross. It looked like that would be enough to secure the Italian’s second Euro’s crown as the game went into additional minutes of the regulation game. However, another of France’s substitutes left their mark on the game, drawing Les Bleus level with seconds left to play, beating the Team of the Tournament Goalkeeper Francesco Toldo with a low driven shot from the left. Who scored the crucial goal to take the game into extra time?
Weeks before his high-profile move to Arsenal, Bordeaux’s Sylvain Wiltord was the man who scored the 93rd-minute equaliser which took the game into extra time. David Trezeguet flicked on a Fabian Barthez long ball, hitting Italy’s Cannavaro before finding its way to Wiltord. He brought the ball into the left-hand side of the area before drilling it low across Toldo from a tight angle to score arguably the most crucial goal of his career. Wiltord was the first of France’s three Substitutes in the game, coming on for starting striker Christophe Dugarry, who, strangely enough, would replace the Arsenal-bound man at Bordeaux, in the 58th minute.
Question 2 (NFL):
One Yard. That is how far away the Tennessee Titans were from potentially winning their first-ever Super Bowl. Wide Receiver Kevin Dyson was just one yard short. This moment from Super Bowl XXXIV has gone down as one of the most dramatic and heartbreaking moments in NFL and sports history. The game itself took place on 30th January 2000 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. The Titans came into the game as the AFC champions to face the NFC Champions, the St. Louis Rams. Neither team had ever won the Super Bowl before this game, with this being the last time this situation has happened as of 2021. This contest also marked the first time the Rams, then based in Los Angeles, had reached the big game since 1979 and the Titans first in franchise history. Both teams’ defences dominated during the first half of action. The only points from the opening two quarters came from Rams’ kicker Jeff Wilkins’ boot, who scored three field-goal attempts to give St. Louis the 9-0 halftime lead. The Rams extended their lead to 16-0 in the third quarter after Kurt Warner’s 9-yard pass found Torry Holt in the endzone. The Titans offence finally woke up on the ensuing drive. Steve McNair drove his unit down the field before Eddie George drilled the ball in for a touchdown from a 1-yard run. Tennessee decided to go for a two-point conversion but was unsuccessful, leaving the score 16-6. With the momentum on their side, McNair once again guided his team into Rams territory. Like their previous one, this drive ended in a short run into the endzone by George, this time from 2-yards, to put the Titans just three points behind. With the Rams failing to get any offence going, Tennessee took the ball back right away. Their drive stalled before they could cross the goal line. However, they finished close enough for Al Del Greco to attempt a 43-yard field goal, which he converted to level the game 16-16. The Rams responded immediately. In his only completion of the quarter, Kurt Warner launched a pass downfield on the first play of the next drive, finding Isaac Bruce on the Titans’ 38-yard line before the receiver took the ball to the house for a 73-yard touchdown. Down by seven, the Titans had the ball on the Rams 10-yard line with just six seconds left on the clock. McNair found Kevin Dyson open five yards away from the goalline. However, Linebacker Mike Jones managed to switch directions quickly, grabbing Dyson’s legs roughly two and a half yards away from the endzone. Dyson stretched out his arm, hoping the ball would break the line, but he was just one yard short as he hit the turf. The game ended 23-16 to the St. Louis Rams, handing the Lombardi trophy to the franchise for the first time in their history.
En route to qualifying for the Super Bowl, the Kurt Warner-led St. Louis side topped the NFC West with a 13-3 record before defeating the Minnesota Vikings 49-37 in a thrilling contest in the NFC Divisional round. ‘The Greatest Show on Turf” claimed the NFC Championship by defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11-6 to book their trip to Atalanta. The Tennessee Titans also possessed a 13-3 record but came second in the AFC Central behind the 14-2 Jacksonville Jaguars. However, they did secure a wildcard spot. They defeated the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Divisional round and Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship game. Still, their wildcard round contest is by far the most memorable game of their playoff run. Why is this?
The Titan’s wildcard game against the Buffalo Bills was the ‘Music City Miracle’ game. The Bills had taken a 16-15 lead with just 16 seconds left on the clock following a field goal. On the ensuing kickoff return, Buffalo’s Steve Christie kicked a high and short pooch kick that fell into Titans’ fullback Lorenzo Neal’s path. Neal handed the ball off to Tight End Frank Wycheck, who ran to the right-hand side of the field, causing the Bills defenders to break their lanes. Wycheck then launched the ball across the field, lateraling the ball to Kevin Dyson. With all of his opposition’s defenders focused on Wycheck, Dyson had the entire left side of the field to run into to score the game-winning touchdown from 75-yards, sending Tennessee through to the AFC Divisional round.
Question 3 (Basketball):
The 2000 NBA Finals were held from 7th June to the 19th and were contested between the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers and the Eastern Conference champion Indiana Pacers. Both teams entered the finals as the number one seed from their Conference. The Lakers topped the Pacific Division with a 67-15 record, and the Pacers finishing first in the Central Division after a 56-26 season. The California-based side defeated their state rivals the Sacramento Kings 3-2 in the first round of the playoffs before defeating the Phoenix Suns 4-1 in their Conference semi-finals matchup. They were crowned Conference champions and earned a spot in the NBA finals after beating the Portland Trailblazers 4-3. On the other hand, the Pacers defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in the opening round 3-2, the Philadelphia 76ers in the semi-finals 4-2 and avenged their previous season Eastern Conference Finals loss to the New York Knicks by defeating them 4-2.
The Lakers went into the finals with the home-court advantage, making the most of it as they jumped out to a 2-0 series lead. In Game Three, Los Angeles was without one of their star men Kobe Bryant due to an Ankle Injury. His absence was felt as the Pacers pulled the series back to 2-1 in Indianapolis. Despite a weakened Bryant and Shaquille O’Neil fouling out, the Lakers took Game Four away in overtime. Game Five saw the largest score margin between the two sides as the Pacers once again pulled the series back to within one and stopped their opponents lifting the trophy in their arena after a 120-87 victory in their last home game of the series. With the Finals back in Los Angeles, the Lakers clinched the series and their first championship in 12 years by defeating the Pacers 116-111. Shaquille O’Neal was named the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player after one of the best finals performances in history, putting up 38 PPG, 16 rebounds and two blocks. Lakers Head Coach Phill Jackson earned his seventh NBA championship of his managerial career and his first outside of Chicago, but who was the Pacers’ head coach?
The 2006 Basketball Hall of Fame Inductee and former three-time NBA Champion as a player Larry Bird was on the Indiana Pacers sidelines. Bird, who is far more famous for his days in a jersey rather than a suit, coached in the NBA between 1997 and 2000, all for his home-state side. The man known as Larry Legend won the NBA Coach of the Year award and was one of the All-star game head coaches in 1998. However, this was as close as he would come from winning the NBA Championship as a coach.
Question 4 (Boxing):
On 12th August 2000, ‘The Real Deal’ Evander Holyfield and ‘The Quietman’ John Ruiz faced off at the Paris Las Vegas in Paradise, Nevada for the vacant WBA Heavyweight Championship in an event billed as ‘Justice’. Holyfield lost the championship just one year before to Lennox Lewis in a bout to be crowned the Undisputed Heavyweight champions as the WBC, IBF, IBO, and Lineal heavyweight titles were also on the line. However, Lewis would be stripped of his WBA title over a dispute about who his next fight should be against. It was initially agreed between Lewis and the WBA that Michael Grant would be granted the next title shot, but John Ruiz and his manager Don King had different plans. The two challenged this decision in court, as there was a clause in Lewis contract which stated the winner of the Holyfield–Lewis fight would first defend his titles against the WBA’s number one contender, which was Ruiz. With Lewis preceding with the bout against Grant, the WBA took their championship off him, choosing Holyfield to face Ruiz for the vacant title instead.
Holyfield regained his WBA Heavyweight championship by defeating Ruiz via a highly controversial and panned unanimous decision. Ruiz was by far the more aggressive fighter and, apart from late in the third round, was never in any serious trouble from Holyfield. Despite this, judges Duane Ford and Dave Moretti scored the fight 114-113, and Fernando Viso scored it 116-112 in favour of ‘The Real Deal’. The commentary team from the American Broadcasters Showtime were left in shock by the judges scores, calling them “absurd” and “ridiculous”. Ruiz would also be quoted as saying, “I won the fight and he knows I won the fight…I had control of the fight. I am very surprised by the judges’ decision. I don’t know what fight they saw.” Even if the result was clouded in controversy, Holyfield made history by becoming the first man to do what?
Evander Holyfield became the first boxer to win the World Heavyweight title on four occasions. His first came in 1990 after knocking out Buster Douglas. He lost it two years later to Riddick Bowe, his first professional loss, before defeating Bowe to take the title back in 1993. Holyfield did not record a single defence of the title before dropping it to Michael Moorer less than a year later. In 1996, ‘The Real Deal’ lived up to his nickname by defeating Mike Tyson for the title. He retained the belt after Tyson was famously disqualified in their rematch for biting a piece of Holyfield’s ear off. The four-time champion lost the belt to Ruiz in a rematch in 2001. Despite four attempts at the WBA, WBO and IBF titles, he never regained it again.Embed from Getty Images
Question 5 (NHL):
The 2000 Stanley Cup Finals was held between the defending champions Dallas Stars and the 1995 champions New Jersey Devils from 30th May to 10th June. New Jersey came into the finals with the lower seed but strangely still earned home advantage as they scored more points during the regular season. The Devils came second in the Atlantic Division, behind the Philadelphia Flyers and fourth in the Eastern conference to earn a playoff spot. In the Conference quarter-finals, they swept the Florida Panthers before defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 in the semi-finals. Their divisional rivals Philadelphia were waiting for them in the Eastern Conference final, with New Jersey conquering them in seven games. The Dallas Stars topped the Pacific Division with 102 points but came second in the Western Conference as the St. Louis Blues won the President’s trophy by amassing 114 points. The Stars handily defeated the Edmonton Oilers and the San Jose Sharks 4-1 in the conference quarter and semi-finals before besting the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 to win the Western Conference finals.
For the first time since 1984, the defending champions lost in the finals as the New Jersey Devils won their second Stanley Cup in franchise history 4-2. Surprisingly, there was only one home victory during the 2000 finals. It occurred in the first game as the Devils hammered the Stars 7-3 at the Continental Airlines Arena. The rest of the games were a lot closer, with four of the remaining five games being won by a singular goal. Brett Hull scored twice in a Game 2 2-1 win for Dallas to level the series. With Game 3 and 4 held in the Reunion Arena, New Jersey secured the two road victories 2-1 and 3-1, with Sergei Brylin, John Madden and Brian Rafalski scoring three goals in the last six minutes of the latter. The Devils squandered the chance to lift the famous trophy at home after losing in triple-overtime 1-0 thanks to a Mike Modano goal. Overtime periods were needed yet again during Game 6. However, this time, Jason Arnott proved to be New Jersey’s hero, scoring in double-overtime to win the game and the series. Defenceman Scott Stevens was awarded the Conn Smyth trophy for Most Valuable Player of the Series. During their victorious playoff run, the Devils’ head coach was Larry Robinson, but what unique accolade did he earn by winning the Stanley Cup?
Larry Robinson became the first interim head coach to win the Stanley Cup. At the start of the 99-00 campaign, Robinson was an assistant coach at the team, a position he held since the previous season. However, he was promoted to the interim head coach role on 23rd March 2000 after Robbie Ftorek was let go with just nine games of the season to go after complaints by the players. Unsurprisingly, Robinson continued as the head coach the season following their Playoff triumph, making it back to the Stanley Cup finals a year later but fell to the Colorado Avalanche.
Question 6 (MMA):
UFC 28: High Stakes took place on 17th November 2000 at the Mark G. Etess Arena at Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey. This was the first UFC event to be sanctioned by the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board after MMA promoters were allowed to conduct events in the state upon reviewing the promoter’s rules and regulations in September 2000. The sanctions put on the event meant that this was the first time competitors were required to wear just trunks and gloves, as we see in modern UFC. This meant no other attire, such as shoes or gis, were allowed. The card’s main event was for the UFC Heavyweight Championship as Kevin Randleman looked to defend his belt against the man who relinquished it in 1998, Randy Couture. Couture scored a technical knockout victory 4:13 into Round 3 to become the first-ever two-time UFC Heavyweight champion.
The rest of the card featured multiple fighters who would go on to make a more prominent name for themselves in MMA. Jens Pulver became the first-ever UFC Lightweight Champion, Andrei Arlovski won the UFC Heavyweight Championship in 2005, Maurice Smith is a former UFC Heavyweight champion and Hall of Fame inductee, Gan McGee was a former heavyweight title contender, and Josh Barnett was the youngest Heavyweight Champion in UFC history at 24-years old. Barnett defeated McGee at UFC 28 after a second-round technical knockout, but what unique distinction does their fight have?
Josh Barnett vs Gan McGee is the first and only Super Heavyweight contest to take place in the UFC. This bout’s unique weight limit came about because of the sanctions the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board placed on the card, which introduced strict weight classes to the organisation. With both men weighing over the 264lbs heavyweight limit, the fight had to be in the Super Heavyweight category or scrapped entirely. For the rest of their UFC careers, both men competed at Heavyweight.
Question 7 (Tennis):
The 2000 Wimbledon Championships were the 114th edition of the event and were held from 26th June to 9th July. The event saw Pete Sampras win his fourth consecutive Men’s Singles Wimbledon title and seventh overall by defeating 12th seed Pat Rafter in four sets. This victory also marked the last time Sampras would win the event. The Australian duo Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde won their record sixth Men’s Doubles Wimbledon title and final as a team by defeating fellow countryman Sandon Stolle and The Netherland’s Paul Haarhuis in straight sets. Venus Williams won her maiden grand slam championship by beating fellow American and reigning Women’s Singles Wimbledon Champion Lindsay Davenport in straight sets. Williams only dropped one set during the entire tournament, coming against the 1st seed Martina Hingis. Alongside her sister Serena, Venus won the Women’s Doubles title as well, defeating France’s Julie Halard-Decugis and Japan’s Ai Sugiyama in straight sets.
Americans Donald Johnson and Kimberly Po claimed the Mixed Doubles Wimbledon title. The duo overcame Mark Knowles and Elena Likhovtseva in the quarter-finals and Nicolás Lapentt and Barbara Schett in the semi-finals before winning the final in straight sets. The team Johnson and Po met in the final went on to become the Men’s and Women’s singles World Number 1 following this loss. Who are they?
Donald Johnson and Kimberly Po defeated Belgium’s Kim Clijsters and Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt to win the 2000 Mixed Doubles Wimbledon title. Both Clijsters and Hewitt became World Number 1 during their careers, with the former achieving it in both singles and doubles. Clijsters won four singles grand slams in her career, the US Open in 2005, 2009 and 2010 and the Australian Open in 2011 and two doubles, the 2003 French Open and Wimbledon. Hewitt picked up two singles grand slams victories in his career, the 2001 US open and the 2002 Wimbledon title, and one doubles, which came during the 2000 US Open.
Question 8 (Track):
The 2000 Summer Olympic Games was held in Sydney, Australia. Despite the name, the games took place in the Southern Hemisphere Springtime, from 15th September to 1st October. The 27th edition of the event saw 199 countries compete in what is considered one of the most successful and beloved Olympiad’s in history. During the Closing Ceremony, the International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch stated that “I am proud and happy to proclaim that you (Australia) have presented to the world the best Olympic Games ever.” The United States top the medal table with 93, earning 37 golds, 24 silvers and 32 bronzes. Russia placed second with 89, and China finished in third with 59. The hosts missed out on a top-three overall finish by just one medal. Vietnam, Barbados, Macedonia, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, and Saudi Arabia all won their first-ever Olympic medals in Australia. Cameroon, Colombia, Latvia, Mozambique, and Slovenia claimed their first gold medals.
The marquee event of every Olympic games, the Men’s 100-meters, took place in the Stadium Australia on the 22nd and 23rd September. The reigning world champion and world record holder Maurice Greene was the favourite heading into the event. His primary challenger was the Bronze Medalist from the previous Games and 1998 Commonwealth champion. Trinidad and Tobago’s Ato Boldon. Both men qualified for the final, as did Greene’s American teammate Jon Drummond, the British duo of Dwain Chambers and Darren Campbell, Barbados’ Obadele Thompson, Saint Kitts and Nevis’ representative Kim Collins and Ghananian Aziz Zakari. As expected, Greene took the gold medal, winning with a time of 9.87 seconds. Boldon earned the silver medal, finishing .12 seconds behind his American rival. Thompson finished in the bronze medal position, finishing the race in 10.04 seconds. The reigning Olympic champion going into the 2000 games was Canadian Donovan Bailey. He set the Olympic record in Atlanta four years prior. However, he was unsuccessful in defending his crown, failing even to reach the final. Which round was he eliminated in?
Donovan Bailey finished last in the third quarter-finals. The Canadian’s time of 11.36 seconds was 1.13 seconds behind Lindel Frater, who qualified for the semi-final from fourth place due to recording the fastest time outside of the automatic qualifiers. Bailey, who ruptured his Achilles tendon two years prior and was suffering from pneumonia during the games, advanced from his first heat to move onto the quarter-finals., finishing third behind finalist Dwain Chambers and Mauritius’s Stéphane Buckland. This was his last major event, as the then-Olympic record holder retired a year later.
Question 9 (Rugby League):
The 2000 Rugby League World Cup was held in Great Britain, Ireland and France during October and November of 2000. The tournament was not considered a great success for the sport. One reason for this is because of some of the team’s lack of credibility. An example of this was the Lebanon side, which was made of entirely Australian players of Lebanese origin. The tournament also featured far too many mismatches in the early stages, with ludicrous scores like Australia 110-4 Russia and New Zealand 84-10 Cook Islands. The organisers of the competition received criticism for their lack of marketing and ticketing. This resulted in low crowd attendance throughout most of the games. The matches held in France were an exception to this, with these games the most populated of the tournament.
Australian came into the tournament as heavy favourites and did not disappoint. They dominated every team they faced, defeating England 22-1, Fiji 66-8 and Russia 110-4 to top their group with an astonishing +194 point difference. The Kangaroos thrashed Samoa in the quarter-finals before conquering Wales in the semi-finals 46-22, which was their closest game of the competition. On 25th November at the famous Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England, Australia met their neighbours New Zealand in the World Cup Final. The Kiwis were also an unstoppable force throughout the tournament to this point, topping their group with ease before eliminating two of the host nations, Ireland and England, in the knockout stages. However, just like everyone else who opposed Australia, they were dismantled in the final. Australia comfortably defeated New Zealand 40-12 to win their sixth consecutive Rugby League World Cup and their ninth in total. Which Australian was named the player of the tournament?
Australian Winger Wendell Sailor was awarded the player of the tournament award. Sailor finished the tournament as the top-try scorer, scoring ten. The Queensland native scored two tries during the World Cup final, earning the man of the match award. The Kangaroo coach Chris Anderson stated after the competition that Sailor was “up there with Eric Grothe among the best of all time”. After the final, Sailor converted into a Rugby Union player. He represented Australia during the 2003 Rugby Union World Cup, losing to England in the final.
Question 10 (Baseball):
Major League Baseball dissolved the National and American Leagues as separate legal entities in 2000. The league became a single unified organisation. However, the MLB still preserved the two leagues within the game, keeping the divisions the same. The first AL Champions under the unified system was the New York Yankees, with the New York Mets winning the NL Championship. This set up an all-New York World Series, which would become known as the Subway Series due to the fans and teams’ ability to take the subway to each other’s stadiums. The Yankees earned their spot in this game by winning the AL East with an 87-74 record. They defeated the Oakland Athletics in the ALDS 3-2 and the Seattle Mariners 4-2 in the ALCS to reach their third consecutive World Series. The Mets qualified for the postseason as a wildcard team. They finished second in the NL East. However, their 94-68 record was the highest amongst every team that did not win their division in both the NL and AL. The Queens-based franchise dispatched the San Fransisco Giants in the NLDS 3-1 and breezed by the St. Louis Cardinals 4-1 in the ALCS.
On 21st October, in front of 55,913 fans at Yankee Stadium, the Subway series began. The home side took the series lead after José Vizcaíno drove in Tino Martinez in during the 12th inning to win Game 1 4-3. The Mets scored five runs in the top of the ninth but fell once again to the Yankees to a single run, with Mariano Rivera striking out Kurt Abbott to end the game. The series moved across town to the Mets’ Shea Stadium for the next three games. The Mets pulled the score back to 2-1 after Robin Ventura’s leadoff home run kickstarted their Game 3 4-2 victory. Yankees superstar Derek Jeter quickly put an end to any momentum the Mets gained from their win as he hit a home run on the first pitch of Game 4. The American League champions went on to win the game 3-2, leaving them one win away from winning it all. During the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 5, the Yankees possessed a 4-2 lead. With a runner on third, Mets legend Mike Piazza launched a fly ball that looked destined to go into the stands. Yankees Manager Joe Torre screamed “No!” when Piazza made contact with the pitch because he thought “, any time he hits a ball in the air, it’s a home run in my mind.” However, Bernie Williams, who hit a home run himself earlier in the game, made the catch and recorded the game’s final out, clinching the series. The New York Yankees won their third consecutive World Series, beating their city rivals 4-1. Derek Jeter was unsurprisingly awarded the World Series MVP award after his tremendous performances through the five games. With the last pitch of the series, Yankees’ Mariano Rivera became the first man to achieve what unique accolade?
Mariano Rivera became the first, and so far only, pitcher to record the final out in three straight World Series. The Panamanian-American pitcher retired Piazza in the 2000 series, the Atlanta Braves’ Keith Lockart in 1999 and the San Diego Padres’ Mark Sweeney in 1998. Rivera has since entered the Baseball Hall of Fame as a first-ballot inductee in 2019 after a long, illustrious MLB career that featured five World Series victories, one World Series MVP, 13 All-Star appearances and setting the record for most MLB career saves with 652. His number 42 jersey has since been retired by the only MLB team Rivera played for, the New York Yankees.